Digital travel ads perform well
UK consumers are keen travelers and have taken full advantage of the digital revolution to help plan trips. However, that development has disrupted the entire travel market, according to a new eMarketer report, “The UK Travel Industry: Consumers Turn to Digital for More Choices.”
eMarketer estimates that in 2013, 25.8 million people in the UK, or 51.2% of the population ages 18 and over, will search for travel digitally. Moreover, 23.2 million people, or 46.0% of the country’s population, will book travel that way.
Looking ahead, eMarketer predicts UK digital travel sales will expand by one-third, rising from £18.44 billion (nearly $29.27 billion) to £24.68 billion (around $39.17 billion) between 2013 and 2017. But at the same time, the sector’s growth rate will shrink from 11.8% to 5.3%.
In its August 2012 report, “Travel and Tourism in the United Kingdom,” Euromonitor estimated that half of total UK retail travel sales were made digitally in 2011 and that this proportion would continue to grow, driven by purchases made via mobile.
Research suggests UK consumers have taken readily to their mobile devices to research and buy travel and holiday products. A study by digital marketing agency Greenlight found that about 17.5% of all UK travel-related searches came from mobile devices in May 2013.
And according to a September 2012 study by the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), 24% of UK residents had used a mobile device to book a holiday abroad in the 12 months prior to being queried, with 10% having done so by tablet and 14% by feature phone or smartphone.
Tapping other consumers for recommendations to inform one’s holiday experience is also a growing digital travel trend. Online travel agencies (OTAs) and travel destinations such as hotels already rely heavily on user reviews and recommendations.
OTAs, then, would seem to provide a dual benefit: good prices for potential travel purchases, but also recommendations that offer an added dimension of information and help inspire consumer confidence.
While the travel sector may be increasingly moving online, digital travel ad spending is a middleweight. But when consumer engagement rates are taken into account, travel is a UK industry sector that punches above its class.
According to the UK’s Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB UK) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), travel and transport advertising accounted for 9.4% of total UK online display ad spending in 2012, the fifth-largest industry segment of the 13 tracked.
But among online advertising management platform provider Marin Software’s enterprise-level clients, the travel industry had the highest paid search clickthrough rate (CTR) in the UK, compared with the finance and retail sectors, during most quarters between Q4 2011 and Q4 2012.
The full report, “The UK Travel Industry: Consumers Turn to Digital for More Choices,” also answers these key questions:
- How large is the UK’s digital travel market?
- How are mobile devices affecting UK travel buying?
- How are UK consumers responding to new ways to book and travel?
This report is available to eMarketer corporate subscription clients only. eMarketer clients, log in and view the report now.